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Ski Instructors Confidential: Linking leads to drinking

Compiled by Allen R. Smith

A trip to Aspen that would’ve made Orville Redenbacher proudOne day I was walking across the bunny hill, having just finished with a group of never-ever skiers. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a robust, middle-aged woman careening out of control. With a scream and a thud, she exploded at my feet. I helped her up and tactfully suggested that she might enjoy skiing more if she were to take a ski lesson. In a heavy Czechoslovakian accent, she explained that she had just finished taking a group lesson. Apparently, it was a large class and she needed more individual attention to progress. I told her that I had some time before my next lesson and I would be happy to work with her one-on-one. We went slowly through the basics of stopping and turning and soon she was linking turns. She was absolutely thrilled.As I turned to walk away for my next lesson, she reached into her pocket and handed me a wad of bills. I politely told her that I appreciated her offer but I gave her my time as a gesture of friendship.She paused for a moment, then said in her thick accent, “OK. I take you to bar. I get you drunk, eh?”- Glen Coates, Okemo, Vt.All the way to Aspen for … Joan was eccentric. She also loved popcorn. One morning, I arrived early for our private lesson. Joan asked me to have a seat while she and her daughter got things in order for the day’s activities. I was with another instructor, so we managed to kill time by reading the newspaper, drinking coffee and chatting about local events. Finally, about noon, Joan announced that she would rather ski Aspen that day – a drive of more than two hours to the southwest. To make it worth our while, she promised to buy us dinner in Aspen before returning for home that evening.I brought her car around, loaded up the equipment and we were on our way. We arrived in Aspen at 3 p.m., with just enough time to take one run. Two-and-a-half-hours on the road for ONE RUN! But hey, she was the client. Besides, the deal included dinner in Aspen. Fantasizing about all of the five-star restaurants in Aspen, I began to look forward to our promised meal. Where would we be going? The Ajax Tavern? Cache Cache? Or maybe even the Hotel Jerome?As we left the base area, Joan led us over to a fire pit next to an outdoor popcorn wagon. She walked up to the window and said, “Four bags, please.”Then we hit the road for home. Dinner in Aspen.- Frank Biasca, VailVail, Colorado


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